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Giddings on Lady Gaga’s seminal stadium run

"She's proved herself to be a world-class superstar and this is her coming of age," says Giddings, who worked as the European tour coordinator for Live Nation

By IQ on 02 Aug 2022

Lady Gaga performs at Tottenham Hotspur stadium

Lady Gaga performs at Tottenham Hotspur stadium


image © Samir Hussein/Getty Images

John Giddings has told IQ how the European leg of Lady Gaga’s rescheduled worldwide stadium tour triumphed over prevailing issues.

More than 280,000 tickets sold for the six-date leg of The Chromatica Ball, which wrapped last weekend with two sold-out shows at Tottenham Hotspur stadium (cap. 62,850) in London.

The Live Nation-promoted tour, which also visited stadiums in Germany, Sweden, France and the Netherlands, marked the first-ever public live performances of Gaga’s #1 selling and Grammy-award-winning album Chromatica (2020).

“The show is incredible and everyone was blown away,” says Giddings, who worked as the European tour coordinator for Live Nation. “She’s proved herself to be a world-class superstar and this is her coming of age.

“Selling 280,000 tickets is fantastic,” he continues. “After the pandemic, you’re a) worried about selling tickets and b) worried that the people who have bought tickets either won’t come or will ask for a refund because they’ve got Covid. So it was a fantastic success to have all these people turn up.”

While Gaga’s packed venues bucked the no-show trend that some tours are still experiencing, the Solo boss says the European leg faced some of the same challenges, from staff shortages to illnesses to production costs.

“The problems of touring are two or three times worse than they were before the pandemic”

“First of all, you’ve got Brexit, so you have to import and export to each country,” he explains. “Then there’s the pandemic to go with it because – remember – countries like Germany are still a bit behind and you have to wear masks on planes and things like that.”

Countering the ongoing prevalence of Covid-19, the tour required crew to take a test and put on a mask before going backstage. “It was like the old days in the UK when you couldn’t walk down the road without taking a test first,” he says.

Add in the rising cost of fuel (which Giddings says costs at least a third more than it did pre-pandemic) and uncertainty around cancelled planes and trains, and The Chromatica Ball became a triumph over adversity.

The outcome, Giddings says, was an “incredibly successful tour” which garnered glowing reviews across the board. VICE said Gaga’s London show was “a once-in-a-lifetime artist playing a once-in-a-lifetime show” while NME hailed it “a thrilling, high-concept return from pop’s finest” and Evening Standard says it was “as perfect as a performance gets”.

The tour even broke some personal records for Gaga, who performed for her largest audience to date – 78,500 attendees – at Paris’ Stade de France.

But it was the shows at Tottenham Hotspur stadium that proved to be the standout dates for the Isle of Wight boss. “I have to give a gold star to Tottenham Hotspur stadium because it was fantastic and they really looked after us well,” says Giddings. “There was brilliant sound and the production looked incredible in there. The way it was built is perfect for a show.”

The Chromatica Ball tour continues across North America and Asia for 14 more shows with stadium stops in Canada, the US and Japan.

 


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